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Acid Bath


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Ran 200lbs through acid bath yesterday, to put the info all in one place, here's a quick write-up for those that haven't done it but need/want to.


Why? Excessive phosphate, organics, pests, and suspected light copper use are a few reasons. Most LR sold locally comes out of tanks that have been neglected for a while before being torn down, some just is out of water for too long and has die-off. You can roll the dice and deal with phos/pest issues for years, or take 4-5 hours to do the procedure written below. Bear with me as I'm typing this on my phone.


1. Pressure Wash - Get as much organic crud off the rock as possible. If you need to, you can always make a trip to the carwash if you can't source a pressure washer for a couple days.


2. Bleach Bath - put the rock in a tub, use a 5 gallon bucket to measure water needed to submerge the rock. You want a 1 to 5 bleach/water mix. So 30 gallons of water gets 6 gallon jugs of bleach. Toss in a pump or powerhead for circulation and leave for 24 hours.


3. Rinse - The organics will be oxidized and stringy filth will be everywhere. Pull the rock and rinse well!! Two ways: either soak in water and rinse or pressure wash again (recommended).


4. Prep for Acid - with muratic acid, 10-1 water/acid works well. Mined rock (Marco Rock) will disolve faster than figi, don't go above 10-1 if you are cleaning this type. If you have figi type you can go to 10-1.5 for really nasty rock. Buy gallon jugs of muratic acid (pool supply or bigbox store), a pair of gloves so you can reach the bottom of your tub, a big box of baking soda, goggles if you don't have any.


5. Acid Bath - put the rocks in, submerg in water. I use a powerhead on this part to prevent mass offgassing of acid hitting a single spot. Now, I add the acid to the rock and water. I do this to prevent splashing straight acid (which happens when you add water/rock to acid). I slowly pour in one jug at a time until the reaction gets rolling spaced about a minute apart. Splashing is prevented and the reaction slowly increases versus having crap bubble everywhere. Running at 10-1, you can let the reaction run it's course (20-30 mins). When the bubbling slows, you can grab out a piece of rock with the gloves and see how it's going. I let the bubbling completely stop (PH neutral) and add a couple cups of baking soda. Let it circulate for a few minutes and its done!


6. Rinse and Store - Pull the rock and rinse (or pressure wash). You can now set it out to dry for long term storage, put it in a tub for cycling bacteria, or place them in an established tank a few rocks at a time spread out over a few weeks. If you are going to cycle/or toss in a tank, let it soak overnight in Prime or some other de-chlorinator just to play it safe. If its getting dry stored, the chlorine will evaporate.




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